|Topic: GS1 – Geography – Climate Change
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding atmospheric rivers and their characteristics.
- Atmospheric rivers are described as narrow sections of the Earth’s atmosphere that transport moisture from tropical regions near the equator to polar areas.
- Often compared to the flow of the Amazon River, these atmospheric rivers release moisture upon reaching land, resulting in heavy rain or snowfall.
- The current rainfall in California is associated with the Pineapple Express, an atmospheric river originating from subtropical waters around Hawaii.
- After enduring years of drought, California welcomes the recent rainfall, especially in Southern regions.
- This precipitation is beneficial for replenishing water resources and supporting aquatic life, such as Chinook salmon, which suffered during dry periods.
- However, the uneven distribution of rainfall poses challenges, particularly for areas lacking storage capacity and resources to capture stormwater effectively.
- While the additional moisture aids in wildfire resistance, it also fosters the growth of vegetation that can serve as fuel for future fires when the weather becomes dry again.
- This phenomenon, known as flashy fuels, poses a significant risk for rapid fire growth during dry seasons.
- The lush greenery resulting from rainfall in the summer months can transform into highly flammable vegetation, exacerbating wildfire risks in the region.
- The current rainfall in Southern California, driven by atmospheric rivers like the Pineapple Express, brings much-needed relief from drought conditions but also poses challenges such as landslides and increased wildfire risks.
- Understanding the dynamics of atmospheric rivers is essential for effectively managing the impacts of such weather events and ensuring the resilience of communities in the face of changing climate patterns.
|What is the “Pineapple Express” Phenomenon?
|One particular illustration of the widespread atmospheric phenomena known as atmospheric rivers is “Pineapple Express.”
The majority of the water vapour that travels outside of the tropics is carried by these long, narrow zones in the atmosphere, which are also referred to as “rivers in the sky” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
They are very moist, carrying as much water vapour as the Mississippi River on average, and occasionally even more, at its point of entry into the Gulf of Mexico.
|PYQ: ‘Climate Change’ is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2017)
|Practice Question: Discuss the significance of atmospheric rivers and their impact on regional weather patterns and environmental dynamics, with a focus on the recent inundation in Southern California. (150 words/10 m)